UNI embraces accounting as STEM pathway

As the career of accounting continues to grow, one university in the state of Iowa is making a change too. STEM classes are known to many as science, technology, engineering and mathematics, but to UNI, accounting has always been and now will be a STEM career. 

“In a lot of ways, accounting has been doing data analytics for decades, maybe the last 50 years,” Joe Ugrin, head of accounting at UNI said. Accounting has always been a quantitative field with the use of technology, which qualifies it as a STEM course. 

UNI made their switch for the accounting program last spring and have seen an increase in interested students from all over. 

“Right now, UNI would be the only university in Iowa that would be considered a STEM accounting major,” Ugrin said. He said one positive that comes from this change includes international students having better opportunities at UNI, which makes UNI a more appealing choice. “International students that graduate from a STEM program have an opportunity to stay and find a job for a company that will sponsor them permanently for three years; whereas, international students that graduate from a non-STEM program only have a year’s time.” 

But this change will be beneficial to local students as well. “The integration of the things that are required to get the STEM designation that are integrated in coursework, that sets them up for success when they hit the workplace,” Ugrin said. 

As for now, the implementation of accounting in STEM at the high school is unknown, but Ugrin said it could add a deeper curriculum for students to get a feel of the real world.

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